Monday, June 13, 2011

Summer 2011

I'm not sure what it is about summer that makes me think more about blogging.  Perhaps that there's more to do, more interesting things happening, or maybe just because I feel best during the warmer months of the year.  Who knows?  In any event, here we go with what will probably be more regular blog posts. :-)

This weekend was a good one!  It's funny that I say that, since wasps and an ankle injury were both involved, but overall Becca and I spent most of it engaged, smiling, and active.  That makes for a great weekend.  Not everything we wanted to do was accomplished, but that just means more projects ahead to focus on!

Saturday I was determined.  Absolutely determined.  We had to make it to the dump.  Since the county centers changed their hours so they're closed on Sundays, making it to the dump has been a challenge.  My pattern has always been to do the major clean-up and truck load on Saturday, then make the trip to the dump on Sunday.  The last couple of months this has been on my radar big time, but there has been something planned each Saturday for most of that time, and when there was nothing planned, it was pouring rain.

Saturday morning bright and early, I was up and taking care of all of the critters, enjoying the beautiful sunrise and the promise of a great day.  The first item on the agenda was a trip to the feed store for hay.  Becca and I hopped into the old pickup and took care of that early on.  Once home, the hay got unloaded, and we started putting things into the truck that a) can't be recycled in the bin or b) were too big to go into a garbage bag.  Bex helped with the big stuff, and then I walked around the outside clearing the rest.  One problem was that there were a couple of bigger items that I just couldn't fit in this weekend, so we'll have to make another trip.

After I stuffed the last empty grain bag into the back, I noticed wasps hanging around the truck.  That was really odd, and a cause of some concern as we were going to be driving said truck.  I thought perhaps I'd disturbed a nest while picking things up outside and figured I'd leave the back of the truck open as we drove, hoping that any lingering wasps would clear out on the drive.  As we headed outside, I warned Becca to hop right into the truck and avoid the wasps.  She got in first, I opened my door, and a wasp promptly dove into the cab.  It went back outside and hovered in the doorway, then Becca gasped.  Loud.  I looked at her face and she was horrified, saying, "Watch out, Mom!!!"  I thought she was talking about a wasp and stepped out of the truck to see if I could wave it away.  She said, "No, look at THAT!" pointing to the door of the truck.  I stopped cold.  Just under the top of the doorway on the inside was a small wasp nest.  Apparently this is what was causing the consternation among these creatures.

Think fast.  Think fast.  I looked at it carefully and there appeared to be nothing in the nest that I could see - no movement in or out.  I grabbed a stick and knocked the nest off and to the ground, then jumped into the seat, cranked the starter, shoved the truck into gear and started driving with the door open (to prevent any wasps from hitching a ride).  At the end of the driveway, when it was clear nothing was inside, I closed the door and we high-tailed it down the driveway as fast as we could.  I've never seen a wasp nest anywhere except under eaves and inside storage sheds!  We breathed a sigh of relief and headed into town on our trip.

We were 7th in line at the scales for the dump.  Because the load looked bigger than it weighed, I opted for the weigh-in rather than the flat rate.  We held our breath and unloaded the truck as quickly as we could, and my time spent waiting for the weigh-in was rewarded with lower than the flat rate.  Hah.  We spent the rest of the day doing clean-up, reorganization, and me tweaking the garden sprinkler system a bit more.  We took a trip to the store for some garden items and a bathing suit for me (that I will wear at HOME only) and spent some time in the frigid pool.  We picked up a floating "disco light" for the pool that looks cool at night.  Hopefully we'll have some warm ones to be able to enjoy it.

The only thing that made me slightly cranky on Saturday were the 20% of the bicyclists that cause problems on our road.  Most are super professional, the way they try to share the road, and it's tough on Westside.  There is no shoulder most of the way, blind curves often, and little room to share.  It's those that ride like this that bother me the most:

See those two in the front?  They never went single file as I passed them, and I was driving a huge 1985 Ford F-150 pickup truck. 

Sunday morning, outside enjoying the day again and getting the animals all squared away.  I decided to take a look at where that wasp nest was the day before, and opened up the truck door.  I stepped back in shock when I saw a wasp in the same exact location REBUILDING.  In the picture below you can see the wing peeking over the top of the door, as the critter crawled to the other side.

It was time to think fast again.  I have bee/wasp spray that shoots 27 feet to handle nests, though I really don't want to use it.  It's there "just in case" nothing else is going to work.  Then I remembered the Cedarcide spray that I use for flea control on the dogs.  I love this stuff.  It kills fleas and ticks on contact and prevents them from coming back, is all natural cedar oil and not toxic to humans or pets.  I know that it works on a LOT of bugs, but didn't recall it being advertised for wasps.  Well, it was worth a try.  I hurried into the house to grab the bottle, and then back out to see the wasp still there.  One spray on the nest, and some of the Cedarcide hit the wasp.  It dropped like a brick.  I looked at it carefully to see what it was doing, and it staggered around a little, then flew off a bit lopsided.  I sprayed across the top of the door, being careful to saturate the nest area, closed the door and left.  I checked throughout the day, and there was absolutely no wasp activity anywhere near the truck, though the wasps were trying to figure out how to get into my car.  Success!

Sunday morning is Windsor Farmers Market morning!!  There are three things that we always look forward to:  Beignets, the ravioli lady, and the pepper jelly/pesto lady, Deb Backman.  Two out of three this weekend wasn't bad - Deb of The Sweet Factor wasn't there, and I fear she is no longer going to have a booth at the farmers markets.  Guess we will just have to go online to find her good food!  We did walk away with yummy ravioli, honey sticks, peaches ... and powdered sugar all over us from the beignets.

After the Farmers Market, we stopped by the hardware store to pick up some tomato cages and decorative lights for the back yard.  Back to the house to drop off perishables, and then off to the Healdsburg pool to cool off.  Becca spent a couple hours in the water while I enjoyed the start of a new book, The Help.  So far it's a good read.  Becca is getting better and better at swimming, and she went off the diving board by herself for the first time.

On the way home, we both talked about what a great day it's been, looking forward to the ravioli planned for dinner, with homemade pesto.  It was the BEST pesto I have EVER made, and I can hardly wait for leftovers!  After dinner, while I fed the chickens and cleaned their water bucket, Becca chased the dwarf goats around their pen.  They were being especially spirited, running around like they were playing a game of tag with her.  She was not amused.  She swung one of the leashes around, and the substantial metal clip hit her - HARD - on the top of her ankle.  It swelled up and was extremely painful for the rest of the night.  I brought out the crutches for her, gave her some Tylenol for the pain and an ice pack.  Luckily, this morning she seemed to be feeling a little better. 

All in all, an enjoyable, fun weekend.  The slight sunburn on my back reminds me every time I move... :-)